It was fairly windy overnight and some reasonable rain around 0230 to 0400. Tent held up fine but it was a bit noisy! Started up at 0600 as we were expecting some traveling companions for our walk over Beam Head (Te Whara) today and we had planned an 0800 start. The gps track for the day is here.
Hilton arrived with Melva on the scooter about 0750 - Melva had to go back as they had guests at Riverbank to prepare for. Cheryl and Malcolm arrived near 0800 - as they had offered us accommodation for a couple of nights at Parua Bay, Cheryl suggested leaving most of our gear in the van!! Brilliant idea! So I took my pack with some essentials and all the rest of our gear stayed behind :-)
With local knowledge available, B and I didn't have to worry about navigation. We also had a wealth of knowledge about the history of the track and of local flora and fauna to make for a very educational day.
The first climb to there highest point (about 480m) was mainly up through grassy ridges with some great views as we got higher. We went past the old WW2 radar station (must have been quite an effort to get everything up there) and eventually into bush as we got closer to the high point.
The gps track for the day is here. As you will see, there was a fair bit of up and down after this as well - totaling about 900m of uphill and the same downhill.
It is very rugged typography on the Heads with stunning rock formations with lots of sheer faces. It is also a very steep drop down to the sea. This leads to some spectacular views!
There is a significant pest eradication programme, despite the challenges of the topography, which results in some healthy regenerating forest with a pretty good representation of various birdlife - more than we have been used to in most of the Northland bush areas to date.
There were several significant peaks during the day, which involved some step accents and descents. I must admit I found the going tough at times - partly due to the rest and partly due to the significant number of steps in the steeper parts. These are really hard on the knees and mine were pretty sore by the end!
Malcolm and Cheryl has other commitments so branched off to the Peach Cove carpark - but they had left a car for us at the Urquharts Bay end of the track for us to drive ourselves to Parua Bay when we finished :-). So B and I carried on the Heads track with Hilton. More stunning peaks, bush and birdlife greeted us on the way down. The last part down from Mt Lion was very steep and the steps were pretty challenging, with the constant thumping on the knees.
Coming out of the track proper onto grassland, we took a short detour down to the beach at Smugglers Bay before heading back to finish the track at Urquhart's Bay. We picked up the car and drove back to Cheryl and Malcolm's place at Parua Bay. B and I shot down for a great feed at the Parua pub as C & M had a function to go to. No need to put up the tent tonight :-) - comfy beds for us instead!
C & M have offered us to stay tomorrow night as well and can take us in on Monday to catch a bus to Opua - so that will work out well for us, thanks again to Cheryl and Malcolm for their fantastic hospitality.
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!